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Local stylist works on Fashion Week models

Keri Johnson Bailes, a hairstylist and Redken artist at Ashley's Alley salon in the Vista, just got back home to Columbia after spending time in Bryant Park during fall Fashion Week in New York City, teasing hair and applying makeup on supermodels.

Full disclosure: Bailes does my hair, and is the unofficial stylist for several staffers in the newsroom.

Bailes attended Fashion Week as a bystander a few years ago, and made some connections that led her back to the runway. We asked her about Fashion Week, celebrities and, of course, hair.

OMG you were at Fashion Week!! What were you doing there?

I was asked by celebrity hairstylist Rodney Cutler to work with him and his team of stylists at Fashion Week. Everything went great and I was asked to come back and work September NYC Fashion Week!

What shows did you do?

I have done the Alexander Berardi show, Park Choon Moo show, and the Project Runway show (with Season 6 winner Irina Shabayeva).

Did you get any time to see the shows or take in the atmosphere?

It was very fast-paced backstage, but I took in every minute of it. I went out and watched each show. I actually stood by the front row at all three so it was awesome! Working Fashion Week was everything and more that I thought it was. It was so surreal to me because I really felt like I was living my dream. lol

I need to live vicariously through you. Name some celebrities you've seen so I can drop some names myself ...

Well at my first show (Alexander Berardi) was Ali Hilfiger (Tommy Hilfiger's daughter), and at "Project Runway" I saw (model and show co-host) Heidi Klum and (designer) Michael Kors sitting together; also in the front row was Tim Gunn, from the show. Singer Faith Hill sat front row at the show. At Irinia Shabayeva I saw actress Alison Brie ("Mad Men"). The models at each show were supermodels sighed with NYC's top agencies like IMG, Ford and Elite. ... A few of the models I worked on had been on magazine covers like Vogue and Elle. It was incredible to have the opportunity to work with people from around the world.

Naomi Campbell - she was everywhere - she didn't take a swing at anyone, did she?

Ha, ha. She was everywhere but I didn't see her and don't think she got into any fights this time.

A couple of years ago, you saw a few celebs but didn't know who they were. Any celebs that you didn't recognize?

Yes this time I really tried to keep aware of who was around me. I didn't really know that it was Ali Hilfiger when she walked past me, but I heard a reporter say it was her.

Your take on the fall fashions presented so far?

I loved everything on the runway for fall and winter. The presentations that I've seen are sexy and bold ... lots of leather and feathers, lots of extended shoulder lines for autumn. Yes, shoulder pads are back! And of course lots of black along with a colorful scarf always works. And yes, big hair is back. Most all of the hair was big and bold along with the dramatic look of some frizz and texture.

So, who won "Project Runway?" Just kidding. Any "Runway" contestants at the shows?

Yes I was right across from Jesus Estrada (who was eliminated in the fourth episode of this cycle) at the Irina Shabayeva show.

Finally, did you find a cool hairstyle that would work on me?

Oh, yes. I saw lots of big pretty curls and waves, and I definitely think that next time you're in my chair, I'm going to give you a blow-out with some loose waves and texture. Rodney Cutlers' NYC Salon logo is "Runway to reality" so I definitely think that every style that I did at Fashion Week can, in some way, be used behind the chair in the salon every day on my clients.

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